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Sonate für Klavier (C-Dur) op. 53

Listening samples
1. Allegro con brio (365 kB)
2. Introduzione. Adagio molto (365 kB)
3. Rondo. Allegretto moderato (365 kB)

Composition
Beginn zwischen Januar 1803 und Anfang Januar 1804, Abschluss spätestens Ende 1804
dedicated to Ferdinand Ernst Graf von Waldstein

When Beethoven dedicated his piano sonata in C major, published in 1805, to Count Waldstein, he was already a reputable artist. As early as 1801 had he told his friend Franz Gerhard Wegeler from Bonn: "My compositions are selling well and I can say I have more orders than I could handle. There are six to seven publishers for each piece and there could be more if I wanted to. I demand and they pay, a very enjoyable situation." (Quote from the Beethoven complete edition 65.)

Count Ferdinand Erst von Waldstein (1762-1823) certainly contributed to this success. In 1787 Waldstein had become a member of the Teutonic Order and relocated to Bonn as the Cologne Elector living in Bonn served as the Order's Grand Master. Waldstein was not only an influential member of high nobility but also a passionate musician and composer.

So, it is not surprising that he soon developed an interest for the highly talented young musician and supported him. With Waldstein's support Ludwig van Beethoven was granted a scholarship at Haydn in Vienna in 1792. But the journey to Vienna was not all Waldstein arranged for Beethoven. He probably recommended the young musician to Price Lichnowsky with whom he had attended the military academy. This noble contact laid the foundation for Beethoven's success in Vienna. Lichnowsky became his most important patron and opened the doors to the Vienna nobility. Beethoven was well aware of how much his friend Count Waldstein had promoted his success. And was there a better way to express his gratitude than to dedicate a grand piano sonata to his patron? (J.R.)

Music manuscripts
Autograph, op. 53 Autograph with sound

First editions
Titelauflage, op. 53, Bureau des Arts et d'Industrie, 449
Titelauflage, op. 53, Bureau des Arts et d'Industrie, 449; Teilscan
Titelauflage, op. 53, Bureau des Arts et d'Industrie, 449; Teilscan

Scores (bibliographic data)

Written documents
Brief an Breitkopf & Härtel in Leipzig, Wien, 26. August 1804
Brief an Breitkopf & Härtel in Leipzig, Wien, 10. Oktober 1804
Brief an Breitkopf & Härtel in Leipzig, Wien, 24. November 1804
Brief an Breitkopf & Härtel in Leipzig, Wien, 16. Januar 1805
Brief an Josephine Deym, Wien, vielleicht April/Mai 1805
Brief an Breitkopf & Härtel in Leipzig, Wien, 18. April 1805
Brief an Breitkopf & Härtel in Leipzig, Wien, Mai 1805

Pictures
Ferdinand Ernst Graf von Waldstein (1762-1823) - Reproduktion einer anonymen Silhouette aus Beethovens Stammbuch, vielleicht von Joseph Neesen stammend, 1. Viertel 20. Jahrhundert

Literature (bibliographic data)

Literature for further reading
F. Rovelli, The Rondos of Beethoven's Sonata Opus 53, Bonner Beethoven-Studien 10, 2012

Manuscript sources in other libraries
Polen, Kraków: Biblioteka Jagiellonska

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E-Mail: bibliothek@beethoven-haus-bonn.de